Article taken from Issue #4 of THE PEOPLE’S PAPER
Readers may be interested to explore the Military History Archives to read some of the many witness statements of those who participated in the Easter Rising, the War of Independence and Civil War.
The archive is online at: http://www.BureauOfMilitaryHistory.ie/
One account reviewed (No. 1521) for this publication is that of Capt. Michael Walsh of ‘C’ company, 2nd Battalion, Cork No. 1 Brigade; they were based in the south east part of Cork city, around the Blackrock/Ballintemple/Ballinlough/Douglas area.
The story of Capt. Walsh is one of an ‘ordinary man’ taking responsibility for the future of his country. The volunteers were ill-equipped and faced overwhelming odds but they persisted, sheer conviction and commitment to principles and consciousness of being organised carried them through.
Walsh’s story is full of suspense ridden encounters, referring to an attack on the Black ’n Tans one story describes:
“those not killed or wounded ran helter-skelter back to Union Quay Barracks firing wildly from rifles as they ran. Some took cover and replied to our fire. They were machine-gunned all the way up Union Quay by a Volunteer named Healy who operated our Lewis gun…”
Walsh endured being ‘on-the-run’, being shot at, beaten, jailed, going on hunger strike and having his family home burned down; he never counted the cost – he served.
From the founding meeting of the Irish Volunteers held at City Hall in 1913, attended my Eoin Mac Neill and Roger Casement, as well as Tomás Mac Curtáin and Terence Mac Swiney, Walsh stayed with his principles right through until the order to “dump arms” issued, ending the Civil War.
We have no more detail on Healy, the Lewis gunner above, but welcome any information people in the locality might provide.
Readers might like to visit the archives to learn about relatives or just to get a flavor of the times – it wasn’t too long ago.